It’s not about Bike Lanes on Wilber Avenue

Oct 13, 2010 by Lisa Newton

After reading about the new bike lanes on Wilber Avenue, in Northridge, the message it sends could not be clearer:

It is not about bikes, bike lanes, or even cars.

It’s about safety!

I may not be a resident of Northridge, and I don’t live in the Valley; but most all of the reasoning behind the creation of the new Wilber Avenue’s bike lanes are universal.

If you’d have driven along Wilber Street during the summertime, chances are that you’d be in the middle of four lanes of car traffic. However, about a month ago, the street was repaved and re-striped which left three car lanes–one in each direction, with a center turn lane, and bike lanes on each side.

Road Diet

Based on my research, Wilber Avenue is a “cut-through street,” which for a long time was used by commuters who wanted to avoid Reseda Avenue on one side, and Tampa Avenue on the other.

Notwithstanding this issue, the residents of Wilber Avenue had to daily deal with the concomitant high speed traffic and unsafe conditions as their “neighborhood street,” had gone by the way side. Indeed, they also sought a solution to their car and traffic nightmare situation, that they were dealt.

Finally, along came the “road diet,” like the one pictured above, which aims to slow the cars down and make the road safer.

And it works.

Based on several studies by the Highway Safety Information System (PDF), “crashes” are expected to be reduced by 29%.

To be sure, that’s good news for everybody.

However, the local commuters are up in arms about the idea that their so-called “secret” short cut is no longer usable.

The new bike lanes on Wilber Avenue, are part of a bigger picture called — safety. This is not a bike vs. car issue.

It’s a people issue. Safe streets are for everyone; cars, bikes, skateboarders, women pushing strollers, and even quite a few pedestrians, too.

Slider photo courtesy of LA Streetsblog

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